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J Hypertens. 2001 Apr;19(4):819-25.

Risk assessment and treatment benefit in intensively treated hypertensive patients of the hypertension Optimal Treatment (HOT) study.

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Centro di Fisiologia Clinica e Ipertensione, Università di Milano, Ospedale Maggiore and Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Italy.



The Hypertension Optimal Treatment (HOT) Study provided information about cardiovascular events in 18,790 hypertensives, subjected to pronounced blood pressure lowering for a mean of 3.8 years.


The HOT Study data have been further analysed after risk stratification of the patients (1999 World Health Organization and International Society of Hypertension guidelines criteria): (i) no patients of the HOT Study were classified as low risk, 50% were classified as medium risk, 20.2% as high risk and 29.8% as very high risk; (ii) incidence of cardiovascular events in these patients with excellent blood pressure control [92% had diastolic blood pressure (DBP) < or = 90 mmHg] remained proportional to pretreatment risk. The relative risk of very high- versus medium-risk strata was between two and three both when HOT Study patients were considered independently of, or within the DBP target group they had been randomized to; and (iii) event rates in all risk strata were calculated to be much lower (possibly 60% lower) than rates expected from baseline risk calculated approximately by the Framingham equation.


The low event rate in HOT Study patients is likely to result from pronounced blood pressure lowering, and is not explained by a lower risk profile than in previous controlled trials of antihypertensive treatment. The persistence of a risk gradient despite intensive blood pressure lowering suggests a combination of blood pressure control with other strategies of risk correction and the need to initiate antihypertensive therapy before complications develop.

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